I’m sure I could write it better

As you already know, I’m participating in the Harry Potter Reading Challenge happening over at Galleysmith. I was fortunate enough to have my mom lend me her copies of The Philosophers Stone and The Chamber of Secrets so we were able to start reading. My husband and I have been taking turns reading a chapter to the kids each night at bedtime. We’ve all been really enjoying the experience.

Since I’ve seen the movies also, I can’t help but compare each scene we read in the book to the corresponding scene in the movie, if it exists. Yesterday the kids asked to watch The Chamber of Secrets movie. We finished watching The Philosopher’s Stone a few days earlier (again) so when we asked the kids what they wanted to watch, The Chamber of Secrets was the obvious next choice.

There’s a scene in movie where Ron and Harry are in Professor Dumbledore’s office being reprimanded by Professor Snape for damaging the Whomping Willow:

Snape: Not to mention damaging a Whomping Willow that’s been on these grounds since before you were born

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but this line really bugs me. If you’ve seen the movie, the tree is so large it has to be hundreds of years old. And how old are Harry and Ron in the second story? Thirteen? Saying that tree is over thirteen years old is ridiculous! Of course I assumed this was a line that was pulled from the book. But after reading and re-reading the pages this scene occurs on in the book, it’s obvious the screenwriters added this.

I’m sure I could come up with something better:

  • a Whomping Willow that’s been around since before Hogworts was built
  • a Whomping Willow the founders of Hogwarts planted
  • a Whomping Willow that’s been around since before Dumbledore was born

Well you get the idea. At least these examples emphasize the old age of the tree, which I am assuming was the intention of including the line in the movie in the first place.

What would line would you write instead?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I read all the potter books at once (thanks to a friend who has the series)…now it’s all jumbled and I can’t remember who is in what book, when anything happens and things like the whomping willow…

    Reply

  2. When I fell asleep during the first half of the first book, I understood that the Potter books weren’t for me, so I gave up the series beforehand.
    I nevertheless understand the “I’m sure I could write it better” feeling, because, as a translator, I sometimes stumble into sentences the style of which improves thanks to the translation 😉

    Reply

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